NDP says B.C. lottery boss who quit got severance of 86K, computer, phone, iPad

VICTORIA - Finance Minister Mike de Jong says the government followed proper guidelines when it allowed the former CEO of the BC Lottery Corporation who quit his job to leave with a severance package.

The Opposition New Democrats say Michael Graydon received a payout worth about $86,000, and also got to take his company-issued iPhone, iPad and laptop.

Graydon resigned at the end of January and one week later was named the president of a new company that's planning to build an urban resort and gaming centre next to BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.

But on Monday, the months-old severance package surfaced during question period in the B.C. legislature, with the New Democrats wondering why Graydon was paid out when he quit his job.

NDP members Shane Simpson and Kathy Corrigan said the government's policy is not to pay severance to employees who quit.

"Mr. Graydon walked away with almost $86,000 in severance and bonuses," said Simpson. "We know from documents the Opposition has received that the finance minister signed off on this deal."

Citing a Jan. 30 email, Corrigan alleged details of the payout also included a bonus that was held back and holiday reserves.

"Usually when someone quits, they don't get any severance package, whatsoever, let alone $86,000 worth plus a laptop, plus an iPhone ... and an iPad," she said.

De Jong said Graydon's departure was in keeping with government policy and that he'll provide the Opposition with the specifics on how much the former CEO was paid later.

"There are guidelines in place, guidelines that relate both to an individual's entitlements at the time of departure and guidelines regarding the nature of the behaviour and the ongoing fiduciary responsibility that continues between the individual and in this case his former employer," said de Jong.

"I am advised that Mr. Graydon has complied, I am advised that those guidelines were abided by in all instances, and with respect to the specific question about the amount involved I am happy to reconfirm that and report back to the member."

Graydon was hired by the lottery corporation in March 2008. About a year and a half earlier, it terminated its CEO after an Ombudsman's report concluded the corporation was at risk for potential retailer fraud.

Graydon is now the president of PV Hospitality ULC, a partnership between Paragon Gaming, Inc. and 360 VOX Corporation.

On Feb. 7, those companies announced that he'll implement a business plan that will see PV Hospitality operate destination resorts in North America "and beyond," but his first priority will be the resort in Vancouver.

-- by Keven Drews in Vancouver